David Ross Education Trust

Broadening Horizons


Mark Ibbertson

Director of Finance

Mark is a qualified accountant and has extensive experience in educational finance, having spent many years providing support and guidance for maintained schools in local education areas around the country. Mark was critical to the successful creation of the Trust's first two academies, Havelock Academy and Malcolm Arnold Academy, and now has responsibility for ensuring the financial security of the Trust.

Mark is Qualified with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and has experience in local government planning in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the North East

David Harrison

Director of Operations

David Harrison has worked in the packaging and plastics industrial, supplying strategic business development, technical solutions and interim management services to food manufacturing companies and international organisations worldwide. He also has operational experience in other service industries including banking and transport logistics.

David also played a key role in setting customer service standards for Japanese car company, Nissan, when they set up a national network.

In a voluntary role, David was also a Chair of Governors at a school that went from Special Measures to Outstanding in just four years. He has also supported a number of charity organisations. 

Leah Charlesworth

Director of School Improvement

Leah has 22 years of experience in the Education sector both as a school leader and at Local Authority level. She has led a range of schools in challenging circumstances and has supported them to improve significantly and achieve positive outcomes for pupils.

Leah is a designated National Leader of Education having led two schools from categories of concern to Ofsted Outstanding. She is currently Director of School Improvement and of the Teaching School based at Wold Academy in Hull.

Within five terms, Leah led Wold Academy from Special Measures at the point of joining the Trust to the school being judged Outstanding in all areas by Ofsted. She has a proven track record in school improvement and has supported a diverse range of schools as a Local Authority Adviser and School Improvement Partner in two regions. 

Richard Williams

Director of Academic Studies

Richard has 30 years experience of working in education systems both in the UK and internationally, and for the last 15 years has been leading transformational change across the sector. His consistent success and in depth understanding of sustainable improvement is drawn from his experience of Headships, Executive Headships, leading school interventions and establishing and leading academies. Additionally, he has been a Regional Director with a leading Multi Academy Trust and Head of Federation.

His work as Headteacher, Principal, Executive Leader, Inspector and Regional Director has given him a broad range of experiences and expertise in improving schools and changing systems. Richard has also provided advice and support on education policy and system change to local authority portfolio holders and council leaders. His work at establishing and chairing Interim Management Boards and Governing Bodies has resulted in the award of National Leader of Governance.

Lawrence Cramer

Director of HR

Lawrence joined DRET in August 2016 as Director of HR. He brings a wealth of experience from the private and not-for profit sectors.

Lawrence has first-hand experience of strategic and tactical approaches to employee engagement, change management, leadership, role profiling, job evaluation and job mapping aligned to organisational structures, TUPE, restructuring, talent management, succession planning, performance management, recruitment, policies, people development, employment law, tribunals, negotiations, mediation and conflict resolution.

Lawrence is a results focused individual who understands the importance of effective communication, collaboration and engaging with people to identify its business drivers and challenges.

Simon Toyne

Executive Director of Music

Simon has extensive experience in developing outreach programmes, conducting choirs and providing expert music tuition across a variety of settings. He previously worked as Assistant Head and Director of Music at Tiffin School. Under his direction, the Tiffin Boys’ Choir worked with the Royal Opera, the Bolshoi Opera and Mariinsky Opera, as well as some of the world’s greatest conductors.

Simon was educated as a chorister in Exeter Cathedral Choir and as a Music Scholar at Eton College, and was the Organ Scholar of University College, Oxford. He is a member of the Kingston Music Hub Strategy group, serves on the UK Education Advisory Panel for Music Sales Group, and is a member of the Legacy Group for Aldeburgh Music’s Friday Afternoons project.

Nigel Saxby

Head of Finance and Procurement

Nigel joined the Trust in 2012, and has worked in the accountancy profession for over 21 years. Prior to joining the Trust he built up extensive experience supporting the education sector, developing a particular specialism with academies. This has included supporting new convertors, sponsored academies, multi academy trusts, primary schools, secondary schools and special schools. As part of this Nigel has assisted with design and introduction of new systems, month end reporting, bookkeeping issues, training of finance staff, preparation and audit of year end statutory accounts.

Nigel is also a Member of the Association of Certified Accountants and is currently undertaking a Certificate of School Business Management. He is also a governor and chair of finance at a local infants' school.

Ben Peck

Head of Communications

Ben started to work for the Trust in October 2012, joining from a marketing agency where he headed up the Education Team. During this time, Ben supported over 20 different schools, academies and universities with issues ranging from branding and website development to crisis communication.

Prior to this Ben worked for two of the largest public sector organisations in New Zealand. As part of these roles, Ben led large public consultations for the Department of Corrections and managed the media profile for the country's largest hospital. Back in the UK, Ben has also managed the national media relations and communications campaigns for Department for Education initiatives such as Aimhigher and Millennium Volunteers.

Guy Shearer

Head of IT
Guy has worked as a teacher since 1987, working in both the state and international sectors and has held deputy and head teacher roles.  He taught ICT and Computer Science and was recognised by Microsoft as a UK and European Innovative Teaching Award winner and for making an outstanding contribution to developing IT in education.
Whilst seconded to Northamptonshire County Council, Guy established and led the Learning Discovery Centre, an innovation unit and testbed for integrating the use of IT and web technologies within day to day teaching to improve engagement and rates of progress.
He was the Head of Enterprise & Innovation for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, working with Professor David Hargreaves on the highly regarded Personalising Learning programme.  Guy led the national programme of support for the new key stage 3 National Curriculum and set up the Enterprise Network.

Andy Green

Head of Development and Governance
Andy is an ex Department of Education official and has 15 years of experience within the education sector, including national educational policy development and implementation of projects at local, regional and national level.  Andy led on the Families of Schools initiative within the Greater Manchester Challenge as well as heading up the communications strategy for the City Challenge Programme.  
Prior to joining DRET, Andy spent his time working with DfE Special Advisers and led on the South West of the country for open academies performance division.
Andy has handled many academy conversions, which have been delivered on time and within budget. Andy also successfully opened the Trust’s first Free School.

Gary McGinty

Head of Asset Management

Gary is an Estates and Project Management Executive with vast experience in managing high performing project teams involved in the design and delivery of complex projects in the education, commercial and public sectors.

Gary is committed to delivering value with an exemplary service to projects over a career spanning 25 years. He has led many projects both small and large and worked collaboratively with a wide cross section of clients & stakeholders, contractors, industry leaders and design consultants.

Shane Ward

Sports Enrichment Manager

Shane has a Sports Development and Coaching degree and fifteen years experience in schools and sports coaching.

He has been working with the Trust for several years, meeting many people and offering some fantastic sporting experiences for students and pupils within our academies.

His previous experience includes County Sports Partnerships and National Governing bodies, including Sports development, event management, and funding and club development.